A novel by Roque Larraquy, translated by Heather Cleary

July 10, 2018 • 5 x 7.75 • 152 pages • 978-1-56689-515-6

Literary Latin American Flatliners: a smart, engrossing, and darkly funny novel experimenting with where life and love begin and end.

In the outskirts of Buenos Aires in 1907, a doctor becomes involved in a misguided experiment that investigates the threshold between life and death. One hundred years later, a celebrated artist goes to extremes in search of aesthetic transformation, turning himself into an art object. How far are we willing to go, Larraquy asks, in pursuit of transcendence? The world of Comemadre is full of vulgarity, excess, and discomfort: strange ants that form almost perfect circles, missing body parts, obsessive love affairs, and man-eating plants. Darkly funny, smart, and engrossing, here the monstrous is not alien, but the consequence of our relentless pursuit of collective and personal progress.

About the Author

Roque Larraquy is an Argentinian writer, screenwriter, professor of narrative and audiovisual design, and the author of two books, La comemadre and Informe sobre ectoplasma animal. Comemadre will be his first book published in English.

Heather Cleary’s translations include César Rendueles’s Sociophobia, Sergio Chejfec’s The Planets and The Dark, and a selection of Oliverio Girondo’s poetry for New Directions.

Thanks to a 2013 ADA Access Improvement Grant administered by VSA Minnesota for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, this title is also formatted for screen readers which make text accessible to the blind and visually impaired. To purchase this title for use with a screen reader please call (612) 338-0125 or email us at info@coffeehousepress.org.


“I love Comemadre. But here I am, days after reading, still asking myself what kind of book it is. Is it humor? Horror? Is it about art? Science? Philosophy? One thing is certain: it is just the kind of book that you’ll want to recommend to your friends over and over again, and here I am, still doing it!” —Samanta Schweblin

“Moving from a sanatorium at the beginning of the twentieth century in which the doctors decide to use their patients as fodder for a deadly experiment, to an artist at the beginning of the twenty-first who pushes the fleshy manipulations of Chris Burden and Damien Hurst to a new extreme, Comemadre is a raucous and irreverent philosophical meditation on the relationship of the body to science and to art. Walking a line between parody and critique, this is a grotesquely funny and powerful book.” —Brian Evenson

Comemadre is one of the wildest and most disturbing novels I’ve read. With a language that dissects the world while describing it, Roque Larraquy constructs a dark fable about the annihilation of the body, about perversions of art and science. Heather Cleary’s magnificent translation does justice to this extravagant gem—composed like a Hieronymus Bosch diptych that sets us before the monsters of unleashed reason.” —Daniel Saldaña París

Praise for Roque Larraquy:

“Who the devil is this Roque Larraquy? His first book seems like an artifact written with four hands—amid laughter and hidden from everyone—by Jorge Luis Borges and Witold Gombrowicz. Or maybe not Gombrowicz, but Virgilio Piñera. Or maybe not Borges, but Villiers de L’Isle-Adam adapted by Paul Valéry (did you know Valéry spent his youth digging up skulls to make calculations?). What is certain is that this truly magnificent novel exudes intelligence, humor, cynicism, cruelty. Cold passion with unsettling—and unexpectedly moving—effects.” —Ignacio Echevarría

“Larraquy spent seven years writing his first book . . . and another three passed before the appearance of his second. We don’t know how long it will take him to publish his next one, but we intuit that there will be a third and a fourth, because in what we’ve seen of his work up to now there is a discernible literary project—a project that’s difficult to define, for which terms like ‘story,’ ‘novel,’ or ‘poetry’ are insufficient.” —Maximiliano Tomas, La Nación

“In spite of having all the necessary ingredients for a historical novel (the clinic, sordid and suburban; the positivist, anthropometric delusions), it’s not a historical novel; in spite of possessing, at first glance, the traits that generally mark ‘realistic fiction,’ (the cross between conceptual art, spectacle, and biopolitics; the gray areas of death, sickness and animalism as thresholds of humanity), something in its tone subjects the reality to a process of distancing treating it as a foreign body—alien—neither completely alive nor completely dead.” —Diego Peller, Bazar Americano